So the news is out, the ETO show has been cancelled for 2017. They say it will be back next year, but since both price and Brexit and being blamed for its demise unless the big venues drop the prices, and Brexit fixes itself overnight, I feel it may be hard work to bring it back in a similar style for 2018.
We sort of knew it was on the cards, when the organiser starts dropping hints about venue changes, then promises that details will be released at the end of the week, and then that week passes, then the next, and then emails are not replied to, you start to get the hint.
Possibly not the best way
Although we all use social media, It would have been nice to hear directly, not via Facebook, and it would have been even nicer not to have lost money in advance hotel bookings, but that is life, and a risk you take in business. (But if you ever plan to book the Crown at the NEC, then be well aware of their complete disinterest in terms of customer service).
In the beginning
The ETO show allowed the smallest companies to start on the ladder and be recognised. We exhibited at the ETO show for 9 years, and it gave us some of our first wholesalers customers - this initial contact is vital for small startups, and I fear with the loss of the show the new manufacturers, based in small workshops in the UK have lost out to the whims and vagaries of the 'big boys', who think nothing of spending £20K on a stand to promote a single mass produced factory designed product.
The perfect show
ETO for us was a perfect inlet into the adult industry of the UK and beyond. The ETO show worked well for us as many people came to see us, both current customers and new prospects, which if you face it, is the point of a trade show.
For a lot of people, especially the smaller specialist companies such as ourselves it was virtually the only opportunity to get direct access to industry professionals on a face to face basis, now we will have to resort to the internet - very expensive for google etc or trade publications, again expensive and for lot of the time pointless, or come up with ways of being even more creative with our advertising and marketing spend. (watch this space!)
The little guys matter
The ETO show was more important to us than for many larger exhibitors. If you are selling your products through a major distributor with an expensive large stand at the show then you can afford to drop your products onto their stand and disappear off to the bar, then hope to be noticed amongst 3000 others products, or like us you can build you own stand, stock it with your entire product range add a pick'n'mix and staff it with your experienced staff and get some great interaction and real feedback from resellers. You might not win the stand of the event prize, but it is much more cost effective.
Distributors need to actually work
Whilst on the subject of big stands and distributors, unlike a number of adult manufacturers especially those with overseas factories (did I mention we are made in the U.K.???) I have issues with the traditional distributor model (you sell to a distributor, distributor sells to a shop, the shop sells to end user).
We find we can offer better prices and better service if we offer our products directly to the resellers, we have around 100 SKUs all of which our staff are intimately experienced with, hardly possibly with a distributor with 1000+ items in their range, many of which are purchased from China for $0.99 and sold to the customer for £25 - it is always interesting discussing markups when the distributor thinks they should make the most profit compared to the manufacturer or store owner.
Not all distributors are the same, we have a good working relationship with MrB in Europe who actively works promoting our products and we can be found in many of their high end branded stores, but such a relationship needs commitment from both parties to work.
What does the future hold? For 2017 there is still EroFame in Hanover, Germany in October , a magnitude bigger show in a well run venue, with more business (and a free lunch) and less frills, but the logistics are greater for UK companies having to ship everything over to Germany, and with the advent of Brexit no-one knows what is going to happen to the European market in the next few years.
Hopefully in 2018 we will see the return of the ETO show, and if it does we will be there ( assuming of course they let us in!!)
But saying all this, if you are interested in stocking out products directly, then please drop us a line or give us a call.
Director E-Stim Systems Ltd